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Shooting Star Flower
A North American native, shooting star joins other woodland wildflowers like Virginia bluebells and trillium to ring in spring. Shooting star sends up a tall, leafless flower stalk that soon reveals white to pink star-shape flowers with recurved petals. The dramatic flower stalk and cluster of pendulous flowers makes shooting star a star of the spring woodland garden. Tricky to get started, this spring ephemeral is worth the effort of selecting the just-right planting site and improving soil with well-decomposed compost if needed.
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Planting Shooting Star
A moist shade garden is the ideal planting place for shooting star. Growing just 1 to 2 feet tall and wide, it does not require much space but has a bold presence. It also grows well in wildflower gardens, moist rocky areas, and prairie plantings. After blooming, shooting star foliage slowly turns yellow and the plant goes fully dormant, receding underground in mid-summer. Plant it near hosta, ferns, astilbe, and other perennials that will fill in the empty garden space where shooting star once bloomed.
Shooting Star Care
Heralding from moist woodlands, shooting star grows best in conditions that are like its native habitat. Moist, humusy, well-drained soil is a great planting place for shooting star. It grows well in part shade that is typical of open woodlands or woodland edges. It is also a beloved component of some prairie communities. Growing and blooming prior to many deciduous trees fully leafing out, shooting star can thrive in areas that are deeply shaded in summer but receive filtered light in spring.
Fall is the best time to plant shooting star. The cool soil temperatures and moist conditions allow transplants to establish a strong root system prior to the upcoming growing season. Shooting star can also be planted in spring. Often sold as a bareroot plant, shooting star requires extra care at planting time. Water newly planted transplants weekly for about 6 weeks and cover the soil around plants with a 2-inch-thick layer of compost or mulch to prevent soil moisture loss. Do not transplant shooting star from native woodland areas; excessive woodland harvesting in some areas has endangered native stands of shooting star.